Job's discourse is continued through this chapter. He still contendeth for his sincerity; points out the difference of the hypocrite from himself; and showeth, that even the blessing's of the wicked, are by them converted into curses.
(1) ¶ Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,
Whether the whole of Job's discourses are to be considered as parables, I do not venture to determine; but it is worthy the Reader's remark, that his discourse is here, for the first time, called a parable. It is the same word as the Proverbs of Solomon are distinguished by; and those are divine things, in which much of JESUS is found. This verse, therefore, is highly important on this account.
(2) As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul; (3) All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; (4) My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. (5) God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. (6) My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live. (7) ¶ Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.
The opening of this sequel to Job's parable, carries with it the nature of an oath. It is a solemn asseveration of the truth. What Job means by GOD'S taking away his judgment, if I apprehend right, intimates, that he himself (in consequence of his sharp exercises, and his ignorance at the same time of GOD'S design), is prevented from forming a clear judgment, wherefore his soul is sore vexed. But, saith Job, let my GOD deal with me as seemeth him good; my faithfulness and integrity to him shall abide by me. Sweet and gracious determination, when a believing soul can and doth say, I know not how my GOD is leading me; but I know, that all his leadings are what they should be. Reader! see to it in your own experience, that path must be right which is marked out by infinite wisdom. And when our will is truly brought down to the LORD'S will, then the soul cannot but approve, however unable to explain, all that the LORD is doing.
(8) For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? (9) Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him? (10) Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?
This is a fine unfolding of the hypocrite's character. It is but short, but it is unanswerably striking and conclusive. The questions rise out of one another; and the last serves to unfold the whole, and finally to determine the point. What can be the hope of the hypocrite? Surely, having acted but as a deceiver, he only finds his hope a deception, when GOD enters into judgment. But will he cry unto GOD? Yes, he may; for hypocrisy doth not prevent this. The Prophet hath pointed out such characters as remarkable for prayer. Thou art near, saith the Prophet (speaking to the LORD), in their mouth, and far from their reins: Jeremiah 12:2. Here the hypocrite is described, under a double view: first, in what he is; and then, in what he is not. He is near to GOD in mouth, but he is far from GOD in his heart. Therefore the hypocrite may, and the hypocrite will, cry unto GOD when trouble cometh upon him. But another question ariseth out of this. Will he always call upon GOD? Yes, when trouble is upon him: for so saith the Prophet. 'LORD, in trouble have they visited thee: they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them:' Isaiah 26:16. But the third question settles the matter: Will he delight himself in the Almighty? No: that is impossible. He may pray, he may cry unto GOD with the mouth when the arrows of GOD are in him; but to take pleasure in GOD, never did a hypocrite do this, nor ever will to the end of the world. So that Job in these verses decidedly settles the matter.
(11) ¶ I will teach you by the hand of God: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal. (12) Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain? (13) This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty. (14) If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread. (15) Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep. (16) Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay; (17) He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver. (18) He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh. (19) The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not. (20) Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night. (21) The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place. (22) For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand. (23) Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.
If the Reader will compare what Job here saith in several instances, with what his friends had before observed, he will find that they agree in certain points. Job prefaceth this part of his discourse with observing, that being under divine teaching, he hath no cause to conceal truth. He therefore allows several things which they had said to be true, that wicked people must be miserable; but then the issue of their wickedness is not always induced presently. Eliphaz had said (Job 15:29-30.) that the riches of the wicked should not continue, and that the flame should dry up his branches. And Job confirms this in saying, that if his children, which are his branches, be multiplied, it shall be for the sword; and though be heap up silver as the dust, the innocent shall divide it. So again Bildad had said (chap. 18:1.), that terrors should make the wicked afraid on every side. Now Job makes the same observation, that terrors should take hold on him as waters. But while they agree in one point, that wickedness is sure in the end to meet its just reward, Job still maintains his point, that it is not by outward circumstances of this world's goods, conclusion is to be drawn of GOD'S favor. Many a precious soul may be sharply exercised, and be in great affliction; and many a prosperous villain may seem to enjoy great riches. And this was the contest between Job and his friends from beginning to end. They argued, from his uncommon calamities, that notwithstanding all his profession of piety, he was an hypocrite. Job takes up the subject on this ground, and after again and again contending for his sincerity, he goes on to show, that though wickedness must terminate fatally, yet it may for a while prosper and flourish. Reader! it is remarkable how much in all ages the faithful have been puzzled to explain these things. Jeremiah sets it down as an incontrovertible truth, that all the ways of GOD are righteous: yet, saith the Prophet, though I know this, I want to know why it is that the way of the wicked should prosper: Jeremiah 12:1-3. And Asaph doth exactly the same. Psalms 73:1. to the end.
READER! we have gone over many chapters now of the patriarch Job's controversy, and heard much on both sides. What conclusions have we drawn from all that hath been said? Certainly the reasoning of Job is unanswerable, and as he expressed it in one of the chapters, It is meet to be said unto GOD I have borne chastisement. I will not offend anymore. That which I see not teach thou me. Job 34:31-32. Sin and sorrow are twins and are born together. So that they are inseparable. It ought to be no wonder, that a sinful creature is a sorrowful creature. For man that is born in sin, is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. And if the best of men were to converse more with themselves, and compare self with the law of an holy GOD this would lower all presumptuous reasonings in the seasons of our afflictions. Reader! let us from Job's sorrows make these improvements. Methinks while I read this man's trials, I would learn to consider more GOD'S holiness and my unworthiness; and while I keep in view the divine law and human transgression; as sin then appears what it really is, exceeding sinful, the burthen of it will be heavy, and the affliction grow lighter; till at length the confession of the church in Babylon, or what is to the same amount, the prophet for the church will be found to suit every case: Wherefore should a living man complain; a man for the punishment of his sins? In an ocean of trouble there is not a drop of injustice. Thou art righteous, O Lord, in all that is come upon us (saith the church) thou punisheth us less than our iniquities deserve. Everything short of hell is mercy.
Precious JESUS! oh how sweet is it to fly to thee, who hast both borne our sins and carried our sorrow's. Thou drankest the cup of trembling dear LORD and hast wrung it all out. One view of thine agony in the garden and on the cross is enough, when GOD the HOLY GHOST opens the eye to see, to silence every complaint and to dry up every tear, which falls for our sufferings, and to cause them to fall in showers, in the contemplation of thine. Blessed LAMB of GOD! I would say, as I view by faith thine agonies, Why LORD didst thou die for me? and whence this bloody sweat? Was it for me? Oh for grace to look, and love, and make the apostle's conclusion mine: If one died for all, then were all dead. And that he died for all, that henceforth they that live should not live to themselves, but to him that died for them, and rose again. Oh LORD! let my life be wholly thine. May I glorify thee in my body, and in my spirit, forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 27". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Easter